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Act 4, Scene II

SCENE II. A prison.

Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Sexton, in gowns; and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO
DOGBERRY
Is our whole dissembly appeared?

VERGES
O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton.

Sexton
Which be the malefactors?

DOGBERRY
Marry, that am I and my partner.

VERGES
Nay, that's certain; we have the exhibition to examine.

Sexton
But which are the offenders that are to be
examined? let them come before master constable.

DOGBERRY
Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your
name, friend?

BORACHIO
Borachio.

DOGBERRY
Pray, write down, Borachio. Yours, sirrah?

CONRADE
I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.

DOGBERRY
Write down, master gentleman Conrade. Masters, do
you serve God?

CONRADE BORACHIO
Yea, sir, we hope.

DOGBERRY
Write down, that they hope they serve God: and
write God first; for God defend but God should go
before such villains! Masters, it is proved already
that you are little better than false knaves; and it
will go near to be thought so shortly. How answer
you for yourselves?

CONRADE
Marry, sir, we say we are none.

DOGBERRY
A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you: but I
will go about with him. Come you hither, sirrah; a
word in your ear: sir, I say to you, it is thought
you are false knaves.

BORACHIO
Sir, I say to you we are none.

DOGBERRY
Well, stand aside. 'Fore God, they are both in a
tale. Have you writ down, that they are none?

Sexton
Master constable, you go not the way to examine:
you must call forth the watch that are their accusers.

DOGBERRY
Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let the watch
come forth. Masters, I charge you, in the prince's
name, accuse these men.

First Watchman
This man said, sir, that Don John, the prince's
brother, was a villain.

DOGBERRY
Write down Prince John a villain. Why, this is flat
perjury, to call a prince's brother villain.

BORACHIO
Master constable,--

DOGBERRY
Pray thee, fellow, peace: I do not like thy look,
I promise thee.

Sexton
What heard you him say else?

Second Watchman
Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats of
Don John for accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully.

DOGBERRY
Flat burglary as ever was committed.

VERGES
Yea, by mass, that it is.

Sexton
What else, fellow?

First Watchman
And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to
disgrace Hero before the whole assembly. and not marry her.

DOGBERRY
O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting
redemption for this.

Sexton
What else?

Watchman
This is all.

Sexton
And this is more, masters, than you can deny.
Prince John is this morning secretly stolen away;
Hero was in this manner accused, in this very manner
refused, and upon the grief of this suddenly died.
Master constable, let these men be bound, and
brought to Leonato's: I will go before and show
him their examination.

Exit

DOGBERRY
Come, let them be opinioned.

VERGES
Let them be in the hands--

CONRADE
Off, coxcomb!

DOGBERRY
God's my life, where's the sexton? let him write
down the prince's officer coxcomb. Come, bind them.
Thou naughty varlet!

CONRADE
Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.

DOGBERRY
Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
suspect my years? O that he were here to write me
down an ass! But, masters, remember that I am an
ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not
that I am an ass. No, thou villain, thou art full of
piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness.
I am a wise fellow, and, which is more, an officer,
and, which is more, a householder, and, which is
more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in
Messina, and one that knows the law, go to; and a
rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath
had losses, and one that hath two gowns and every
thing handsome about him. Bring him away. O that
I had been writ down an ass!

Exeunt

William Shakespeare